I just made mashed potatoes.
This, in itself, is not very exciting. But did I mention that I have never made mashed potatoes before?
When it’s time to eat, Jeff and I play the – what do you want to eat? – game. It’s quite fun.
Me – “So, what do you want to eat?”
Jeff – “I don’t know. What do you want to eat?”
Me – “Hmm. I don’t know.”
Jeff – “How about barbecue?”
Me – “Nah.”
Jeff – “How about tacos?”
Me – “Nah.”
Jeff – “Soup and grilled cheese?”
Me – “Nah.”
Jeff – “Ok, your turn.”
This could go on forever, but eventually one of us will come up with an idea that we both (well, at least I) like.
So, when we finally figure something out, Jeff is the head chef and I am the lowly assistant. But in this case, the assistant is very happy to do just that and let the head chef be in charge. So while I have washed and peeled the potatoes, it is always the head chef that actually “makes” the mashed potatoes, hence the whole reason I’ve never done it.
Jeff loves to invite people over for dinner. I do too, but he really loves it. He also loves to do things at the last minute. Combine these two things with his love to cook, and you have…well, disaster. Or fun. Or both.
So we had some friends coming over for dinner. What time do we invite them, you might ask? About 1:30 in the afternoon. What time were they coming? About 6. What time was Jeff supposed to get home? About 4:30. Perfect. I could do some prep work and then the head chef could swoop in and save the day. Or the meal.
Macy and I didn’t get home that day until about 2:30. She was Exhausted (no, that is not a typo – she was so tired, it deserves a capital letter). So I got her down for a nap. That lasted until about…4. Normally, this would be cause for celebration, but today the assistant was supposed to go downstairs and buy the veggies that we needed for the meal. So when she woke up, I strapped her on (I love that Ergo), and went downstairs.
We came back about 4:20ish. I put Macy in her walker. She walked, I washed. She walked some more, I started to peel. While peeling, I had the other veggies soaking for salad (making salad in this country is another blog in itself). Macy fussed. Uh oh. Jeff called. Apparently, the bus he was on was going slower than it did when he went out, so he wouldn’t be home until 5ish. 5:30 at the latest. Problem, but still okay. If the head chef could make it back by 5:30, we could still have a 30 minute head start before our friends came.
And then Macy began to wail. She didn’t want to walk, she didn’t want to crawl, she didn’t want to play, she wanted to be held. Difficult to peel potatoes while holding a baby. She begins to rub her eyes. Big time. They turn red. Problem, problem, problem. She wants to go back to sleep. I put her in her crib. She wails louder. I try to ignore it and keep peeling. Peel, peel, peel. I feel terrible. I put down the peeler, wash my hands, and go in there. She is so tired. Poor baby.
It’s around this point that I wonder how moms do it day in and day out. With multiple kids. I only have one kid and I’m pretty sure I’m not handling it very well.
Did I mention that I haven’t even begun to think about getting myself ready? I still have half peeled potatoes, veggies soaking, meat dethawing, an un-set table, a baby crying, a messy house, and I’m still in my “hang around the house” clothes. Where is my head chef??
And then the phone rings. “Hey…how long does it take to get to your house? We might be a little early.”
And now I panic. I really want this meal to be perfect for our friends. I want them to walk in and the table be set (with food on it preferably) and Macy and I be in our cute outfits smiling as we answer the door with a clean house behind us. I want to be that mom.
Instead of thinking about this, I concentrate on Macy. She really needs to sleep and she’s overtired so she needs my help. After a few minutes of rocking, she finally falls asleep and I lay her down in her crib.
Back to the potatoes. I peel, I chop, I throw them in to boiling water. Take out veggies, start chopping for salad. Make sure is still hot for the meal dethawing. Set table. Check potatoes. Start making another side dish. Pull drinks out of fridge. Check time – 5:15. Call Jeff. He’s not off the bus yet. Once salad is made, throw the bowl on table. Change clothes, brush hair, apply mascara. Good enough. Back to potatoes. I mush one with a fork. Call Jeff and ask how to know if potatoes are done. You’d think one would be born with this kind of knowledge, but I am not.
Drain potatoes. Add butter, salt, milk. Stir, stir, stir. I panic again. What if this is not enough potatoes? I make a mental note to tell Jeff not to eat any potatoes until our friends have eaten all they want.
Take meat out of plastic bags so it’s ready to go on the grill. I may be head chef for tonight, but I will probably never be head barbecue chef. Pick up toys. Check time – 5:35. Call Jeff. He’s on the bike headed home. Check on casserole in the oven. Good.
Finish setting table. Wonder about what age kids can have their own knives. Hmm. Just put out a few and will let the parents decide when they get here.
Get out sauces. Pull out casserole. 5:45. Get a phone call from our friends. They’ve arrived, but may need someone to show them where our entrance is.
Jeff rings the doorbell. Yay. He walks in, I walk out to find our friends. They arrive to a semi-clean house with a semi-made meal. Not quite what I wanted, but I’m so glad that they are here that I don’t care. And they are good enough friends that they don’t mind either.
Now that our friends are here and Jeff is back, I relinquish my temporary head chef hat. I am very happy to do so. I sit back, relax, and let the head chef do his thing.
It’s a very good evening.